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Major milestone achieved on new underwater tunnel

Date Posted: 2009-05-07

The final ヤsink boxユ for a new underwater tunnel linking Naha City and Naha International Airport was put into place this week, moving the massive project a step closer to a March 2011 grand opening.
Construction on the 724 meters long tunnel beneath Naha harbor began more than five years ago, as planners recognized the massive traffic jams with southbound traffic headed for the airport winding through downtown along Highway 58. The tunnel connects Miegusuku near the Loisir Hotel and Kagamimizu at the the Naha International Airport area.
Itユs not only the tunnel opening next Spring; a new stretch of highway will open on both ends of the tunnel, as well. The new roadway from Naha Aja Port, near Camp Kinser, to the airport will be a significant traffic shortcut, bypassing Highway 58 and downtown traffic. Officials say it currently takes 18 minutes from Aja Port to the airport, but point out the trip will take only eight minutes with the new tunnel.
The tunnel beneath Naha harbor is being formed by eight sink boxes linked together. The tunnel itself, officials say, will be complete by September. Once complete, traditional road paving, lighting and safety systems will be put into place.

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